Gravissimum Educationis 6

Scriptorium6. The Duties and Rights of Parents

Parents who have the primary and inalienable right and duty to educate their children must enjoy true liberty in their choice of schools.

School choice in ’65: you heard it here.

Consequently, the public power, which has the obligation to protect and defend the rights of citizens, must see to it, in its concern for distributive justice, that public subsidies are paid out in such a way that parents are truly free to choose according to their conscience the schools they want for their children.(Cf. Provincial Council of Cincinnati III, a. 1861: Collatio Lacensis, III, col. 1240, c/d; Pius XI’s encyclical letter, Divini Illius Magistri, 1, pp. 60, 63 ff.)

Society’s burden to ensure freedom of choice, too. More on the role of the state in education:

In addition it is the task of the state to see to it that all citizens are able to come to a suitable share in culture and are properly prepared to exercise their civic duties and rights. Therefore the state must protect the right of children to an adequate school education, check on the ability of teachers and the excellence of their training, look after the health of the pupils and in general, promote the whole school project. But it must always keep in mind the principle of subsidiarity so that there is no kind of school monopoly, for this is opposed to the native rights of the human person, to the development and spread of culture, to the peaceful association of citizens and to the pluralism that exists today in ever so many societies.(Cf. Pius XI’s encyclical letter, Divini Illius Magistri, 1, p. 63; encyclical letter, Non Abbiamo Misogno, June 29, 1931: A.A.S. 23 (1931) p. 305, Pius XII’s letter from the Secretary of State to the 28th Italian Social Week, Sept. 20, 1955: L’Osservatore Romano, Sept. 29, 1955. Paul VI’s allocution to the Association of Italian Christian Workers, Oct. 6, 1963: Encyclicals and Discourses of Paul VI, vol. 1, Rome, 1964, p. 230.)

It’s a responsibility of Christians to help the process of discerning the best methods in education and in training teachers. More than that, parent groups should be involved in the work of the school, but especially as agents of safeguarding the education in morality:

Therefore this sacred synod exhorts the faithful to assist to their utmost in finding suitable methods of education and programs of study and in forming teachers who can give youth a true education. Through the associations of parents in particular they should further with their assistance all the work of the school but especially the moral education it must impart.(Cf. John XXIII’s message on the 30th anniversary of the encyclical letter, Divini Illius Magistri, Dec. 30, 1959: A.A.S. 52 (1960) p. 57.)

We’re halfway through the document with minimal comment so far. How does all this sit with you? Eager to get back to liturgy or discernment posts?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd and his family live in Ames, Iowa. He serves a Catholic parish of both Iowa State students and town residents.
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